Tag Archives: M. John Harrison

Chauvinist SF misses the point of the future

There’s a logical fallacy in this club’s claims that it welcomes women members, which is rather like the rhetoric of the well-schooled military officer. Of course they want women in the army. It’s just, well, a soldier must be physically strong, naturally violent and preferably have a todger so you can pee standing up. Any woman who fulfils those criteria is more than welcome to take the king’s shilling! Women writers are more than welcome in hard SF, assuming they have a background in the hard sciences and value hard logic to the exclusion of all emotional experience. And while it’s not compulsory to have a personality at the far end of the autistic spectrum, it certainly helps.

Read more @ The Guardian

Can fantasy tell the truth?

There is nothing wrong with escaping reality now and again. Like a well brewed ale, or a good malt whisky, a finely crafted escapist fantasy can be a thing of joy and beauty. But while the occasional tipple can be a good thing, most of us recognise that a bottle of Jameson’s a night is unhealthy for body, mind and soul.

An unfiltered diet of escapist fantasy blockbusters can be similarly unhealthy. As master anti-fantasist M John Harrison expresses it in his essay The Profession of Science Fiction while discussing the appeal of fantasy to young children terrified by adult life, “Many fantasy and SF readers are living out a prolonged childhood in which they retain that terror and erect – in collusion with professional writers who themselves often began as teenage daydreamers – powerful defences against it.”

Read more in The Guardian